Now the bad news: For the third straight week, new Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations are increasing, according to CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walenky.
“Cases and emergency room visits are up,” Walensky said Friday. “We are seeing these increases in younger adults, most of whom have not yet been vaccinated.”
In the past week, the US averaged more than 68,000 new Covid-19 cases every day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
That’s up more than 20% since the March 10 seven-day average.
Nationwide, more Americans age 18 to 64 have gone to emergency departments for Covid-19 complications, Walensky said.
She said the trends are “magnified” in one part of the country: the Upper Midwest.
“CDC is working closely with public health officials in this region to understand what is driving these cases and how we can intervene,” Walensky said.
‘A life and death race’
Florida has the highest number of reported B.1.1.7 cases, according to the CDC, followed by Michigan, which is reporting thousands of new Covid-19 cases daily.
“This B.1.1.7 variant…is more contagious, and I think there’s just fatigue from this pandemic out there so a lot of people don’t wear masks, don’t social distance, so we’ve basically taken a step back in Michigan,” said Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
“It’s really frustrating, because we’re almost there,” he said. “We have to hang in there for the next two months and we’re not doing that.”
Some Michigan hospitals are delaying and rescheduling non-emergency procedures on a “case-by-case basis,” a spokesperson for the Michigan Health & Hospital Association said.
“Hospitals want everyone to get the care they need and only reschedule procedures as a last resort,” John Karasinski said. “We want to stress that hospitals are safe for all who need care and any individual with an emergency medical need should seek care immediately.”
In both Michigan and Minnesota, “there is concern about transmission in youth sports — both club sports, as well as sports affiliated in schools,” Walensky said Friday.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said the number of Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and ICU admissions in his state are all rising.
“We’re moving now in the wrong direction,” DeWine said Thursday. “More than half of our counties, 53, have seen increases.”
“We can still turn this around if more people continue to get vaccinated,” he said. “This is a race. We are in a race. And it’s a life-and-death race.”
More proof that vaccines are safe and effective
While more young, unvaccinated adults get hospitalized with Covid-19, the number of elderly Americans getting hospitalized or dying from Covid-19 keeps decreasing.
Health experts say that’s because elderly people are more likely to be vaccinated than younger adults.
And there’s growing evidence showing how safe the vaccines are for adults of all age groups.
Fewer than 1 in 28,000 people who got a Covid-19 vaccine — or less than 0.004% — have reported serious adverse reactions, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Vaccines Adverse Event Reporting System, or VAERS.
Vaccine providers “are encouraged to report any clinically significant health problem following vaccination to VAERS, whether or not they believe the vaccine was the cause,” the VAERS website said.
The good news is even when severe reactions do happen, “they usually happen in the first 30 minutes,” said vaccinologist Dr. Peter Hotez of the Baylor College of Medicine.
“That’s why vaccine sites keep people there for 15 to 30 minutes afterward,” he said.
The Surgeon General said there are simple steps to end this pandemic:
“One: Get vaccinated as soon as you can,” Dr. Vivek Murthy said. “And two: Help the people you care about get vaccinated as well.”
CNN’s Deidre McPhillips, Naomi Thomas, Amanda Sealy, Sarah Boxer, Ben Tinker, Polo Sandoval and Pamela Brown contributed to this report.